A giant blue heart made up of school backpacks to show gratitude to teachers

The backpack installation in the Skopje city square on World Teachers Day kicks off teachers matter campaign “We learn from you. Thank you”

05 October 2020

SKOPJE, 5 October 2020. On World Teachers Day, the Ministry of Education and Science and UNICEF opened a school backpack installation on the Skopje city square, to give recognition and show gratitude to teachers for the critical role they play in delivering quality education and supporting children fulfil their potential.

The installation was launched days after the beginning of the 2020/2021 school year. While it acknowledges the contribution that teachers are making to provide remote learning and re-open schools, the initiative aims to celebrate the critical role that teachers play in society, building resilience and shaping the future of education and improving student learning outcomes.

“"The Ministry of Education and Science, and all those responsible in the Government, are in daily contact with teachers, director of schools, students, parents, so that we can all together make the new digital learning platform more friendly and to ensure it includes all children with equal access. What gives us hope is the incredible commitment of teachers, their engagement, enthusiasm, sense of social responsibility and demonstrated interest to participate in the trainings, with a desire to provide their students with the education they deserve. They are committed to do all it takes to compensate for student’s missing out on the chance to attend and socialise in the classroom. For that commitment, they really deserve our full respect," said Zoran Zaev, President of the Governement of the Republic of North Macedonia.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, North Macedonia was already facing a learning crisis with more than half of all fifteen-year-olds in the country failing to meet basic proficiency levels in reading and maths according to the latest PISA results. Global evidence shows that the main driver of good student learning outcomes is quality and competence of teaching. Whether in classroom or online, the partners recognise that there is a critical need for reforms that support and motivate teachers to harness their intellect, wisdom, intuition, passion and creativity.

“As a Government we have an obligation and a responsibility to create the conditions for better education. But only with you [teachers] and with the support you provide to children, can we be a step closer to achieving this goal.. The world today marks World Teachers Day under the motto: Teachers: Leading in crisis, reimagining the future. I truly believe in your power and I am sure that it will be our reality. You are our national strength and pride,” said Mila Carovska, Minister of Education and Science.

Partners recognised that the role of teachers matters now more than ever before and that without continued investment in teachers and quality education, the COVID-19 pandemic could further deepen the ongoing learning crisis, with implications for generations of learners who are generations of citizen, future parents, and future workforce. 

“When we talk about quality education, we often get caught up on the things we can see - digital tools, classroom sizes, hours of instruction, the physical space, the curricular. These are all important, but what makes the biggest difference to a child’s ability to thrive in education and in life is motivated teachers – how they think, how they make daily judgements, the passion they have for teaching and the expectations they have for students – often higher than those that students have for themselves. We can all relate because everyone of us remembers a favourite teacher who taught us something more than the subject they were teaching,” said Patrizia Di Giovanni, UNICEF Representative. “The ‘UNICEF school backpacks’ used in the instillation are a symbol of hope and childhood possibility. Today we are using them to show gratitude to teachers for the important role they play to help children fulfil their potential. Whether online or in the classroom they are leading in this crisis and critical for reimagining the future of education.”


"I have been working as a teacher  for 10 years and I love it dearly, I invest the maximum I can, with every atom of my body and soul to give the best I can teaching my students. And I know that I am not alone in this work, I know that there are many more teachers like me," said Aleksandra Blazevska, Teacher from the elementary school "Jan Amos Komenski.

The school backpack installation will be on the Skopje city square for three days allowing visitors to engage with their own messages to teachers. The initiative is part of a campaign “We learn from you. Thank you” that the Ministry of Education and Science and UNICEF will be implementing over the 2020/2021 school year. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the important role that teachers play in delivering quality education and improving student learning outcomes; to celebrate teachers that motivate learners and build support for the reforms designed to support teacher’s professional development, competence and motivation. To celebrate the positive lifelong influence that teachers have on us,  as children today and as adults when we were children a while back.



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UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.mk.

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